NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Offers Tips for Heart Health
Jan 29, 2018
Queens, New York
February marks Heart Health Month, a time to raise awareness about ways to prevent heart disease and improve cardiovascular functions. Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women. In fact, according to the Heart Health Foundation, cardiovascular diseases take more lives than all forms of cancers combined.
“Heart disease kills hundreds of thousands of Americans each year, but many of these conditions are preventable,” said Dr. David Slotwiner, chief, Division of Cardiology, at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. “Exercise, a balanced diet and avoiding high-risk activities like smoking are some of the best ways to keep your heart healthy.”
The Cardiology team at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens shares the following tips:
- Focus on a healthy diet. Your heart works best when it runs on clean fuel. That means eating lots of whole, plant-based foods (like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds) and fewer refined or processed foods (like white bread, crackers, and cookies). One of the fastest ways to clean up your diet is to cut out sugary beverages like soda and fruit juice, which lack the fiber that’s in actual fruit.
- Avoid trans fats. While a balanced diet includes fats, you need to make sure you’re ingesting the right kinds of fats including saturated, polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats. One fat to avoid is trans fats, often used in packaged baked goods, snack foods, margarines and fried fast foods. Trans fats may increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke.
- Get enough sleep. Researchers believe sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes, including blood pressure and inflammation. Try to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep most nights. If you have sleep apnea, you should be treated as this condition is linked to heart disease and arrhythmias.
- Ditch the cigarettes. According to the American Heart Association, exposure to tobacco smoke contributes to about 34,000 premature heart disease deaths each year. If you smoke, try to quit, and don't spend time around others who smoke. E-cigarettes are perceived to be a popular alternative to help people quit, but they still contain nicotine. If you’re trying to quit, talk to your doctor your options.
- Check your blood pressure. It’s important to get your blood pressure checked every time you get a physical. If your blood pressure gets too high, the extra force can damage artery walls and create scar tissue. That makes it harder for blood and oxygen to get to and from your heart.
- Exercise. Research shows that people who live a sedentary lifestyle are at an increased risk of developing blood clots and other adverse cardiovascular conditions. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, 5 days a week. This can include any activity that gets you moving and breaking a sweat.
- Stay stress-free. Managing stress in a healthy way, whether it's meditation, yoga, or exercise, is really important. Try to spend time with people you’re close to. Talk, laugh, confide, and enjoy each other.
- Practice good dental hygiene. Dental health is a good indication of overall health, because those who have periodontal (gum) disease often have the same risk factors for heart disease. Studies have shown that bacteria in the mouth involved in the development of gum disease can move into the bloodstream and cause an elevation in C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. Try to floss and brush your teeth daily to ward off gum disease.
NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, located in Flushing, New York, is a community teaching hospital affiliated with Weill Cornell Medicine, serving Queens and metro New York residents. The 535-bed tertiary care facility provides services in 14 clinical departments and numerous subspecialties. Annually, 15,000 surgeries and 4,000 infant deliveries are performed at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. With its network of affiliated primary and multispecialty care physician practices and community-based health centers, the hospital provides approximately 162,000 ambulatory care visits and 124,000 emergency service visits annually.
Jenna Buraczenski 212-843-9379 [email protected]